Two Driftwood Garden Club of Marblehead (DGC) members participated in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) virtual edition of its 45th annual Art in Bloom exhibit, a festival that pairs art with floral interpretations created by New England-area garden clubs. This year’s exhibit was themed around artworks that tell the stories of women across the Museum’s collection.
Longtime DGC members Laurie Boggis and Ginny von Rueden created a floral arrangement representing their assigned painting ‘Ubi Girl from the Thai Region.’ The acrylic on canvas was painted in the Harlem Renaissance style by artist Lois Mailou Jones in 1972. The artist was born and raised in Boston and attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.
According to designer Laurie Boggis, “the painting is large, 44 inches wide by 60 inches long. It is even more striking in person!” Ginny states, “the strong imagery of the African face masks, which contrasted with the variety of exuberant colors, made a strong impression on us. Overlapping zigzag geometric shapes give movement and excitement to the theme of the painting. They bring to mind the flora and fabrics seen throughout Africa and represent the vitality of African women.”
Laurie and Ginny were most struck by the ‘eyes’ featured in the painting, and much of their plant material has ‘eyes’ which are central to the theme of the painting. The plant materials reflect the shapes and colors in the painting and are native to African countries, especially those of the artist’s heritage. Ginny says, “we wanted to give special attention to the alocasia, often referred to as ‘African mask’ because it replicates the shape and features of the girl’s face. The protea blossoms reflect the orange, round qualities of the two masks. And red and pink gerberas are a happy nod to the mix of these colors in the background.”
Laurie found the perfect container, which was handmade in Ghana. The container complements the arrangement, not only because it is made of African cedar wood, but also for its protruding zigzag shapes and striking blue color.
This painting has a special place in Ginny’s heart since she has lived in several African countries and visited others like South Africa, where she co-founded a partnership between Old North Church in Marblehead and a community in KwaZulu, home of the Zulu people. Laurie and Ginny both agree that floral designers form a strong connection to the piece of art they interpret in Art in Bloom. Congratulations to Laurie and Ginny!